Bristol Beaufort to Victory is a map depicting historical information about Fishermens Bend, located in Port Melbourne.In the 1930’s Fishermen’s Bend was mainly swamp land and owned by the Commonwealth Government. A primitive airstrip was built over the swamp and used by light aircraft and gliding enthusiasts.In 1935 The Government built the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation factory and improved the airstrip by sealing and extending it. The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation was conceived by Essington Lewis, the Managing director of BHP.The company was a consortium of BHP and GMH to manufacture military aircraftand the land chosen was adjacent to the newly constructed GMH building.The Manager of the factory was Lawrence Wackett who was a pilot, designer and manufacturerSeveral wartime aircraft were manufactured including the Wirraway, Wackett Elementary Trainer, the Mustang and the Boomerang, which was conceived, designed and manufactured in just over 3 months.Two prototypes were produced, Woomera and the Kangaroo but were never produced.Fishermens Bend became a centre of aircraft industry including the manufacturing of the Bristol Beaufort Mk VIII during World War II. The design of the wing can be seen in the location of the factory.
The aircraft mostly produced was the Bristol Beaufort Mk VIII which had a wing design as depicted in the location of the factory on painting.
The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation was taken over in 1986 and nearly all of its buildings were demolished in 2003-04.
Although it was used for gliders and war plane testing in the 30’s and 40’s it was also used for public car and motorcycle racing from late 40’s for nearly a decade.
So, Todd Road, as we know it today was once the runway of the aerodrome and the taxi runway is now Wharf Road.
The railway, used by the factory, can still be seen along Todd Road, although it is not connected to the suburban rail network.
A legacy of the past can be seen in the form of the street names in the area. If you are ever in the area see if you can find any links to the past.